The year 2015 is almost at a close, and we’d like to help wrap it up with an aBlogtoWatch watch buying gift guide – done, once again, a little bit differently. As a publication that tends to help consumers make choices about watches they want to purchase, we dislike the idea of arbitrarily limiting your buying options to a few timepieces that we feel just narrowly beat out others in any given list. So for that reason, we try to stay away from more randomly assorted gift guides that, frankly, also bore us to create.
What we’ve done for this holiday season’s gift guide idea was to ask various members of the aBlogtoWatch team to mention the first watch that comes to mind when presented with a particular question. For example, we asked the question, “What watch would you wear to impress Vladimir Putin?” (a known watch buff and all-around leader of Russia). Each of the questions we asked called for a different type of watch, and we included some of our favorite responses from the aBlogtoWatch team. It’s just a little way of getting into our watch nerd heads and having fun during the holiday season (where, apparently, rest and relaxation is but a myth).
Whether your budget for watch buying is modest or prodigious, you’ll find some interesting timepieces here in each (perhaps unexpected) category that the aBlogtoWatch team feels are worth mentioning – from those suitable for very ordinary occasions to those which might only occur in our fantasies. Please offer your own choices in the comments below if you feel you have some watch choice responses to compliment our own.
Beater Watch Worth Wearing
Let’s start with the trusty everyday watch, something you can knock around and not worry too much about because it isn’t that expensive. With that in mind, it’s also got to be designed well, reliable, and say something about the wearer. Here are our top picks for the “beater watch” category.
Ariel Adams: Magrette Manoa Pacific Professional (Reviewed here)
Matt Smith-Johnson: Seiko Spirit Smart SCED035 ‘Aliens Ripley’ Watch (Reviewed here)
Victor Marks: Orient Symphony (Feature article “Orient Dress Watches: The Best Budget Option?” Hands-on here)
David Bredan: Casio G-Shock Rangeman Camo
Watch That Would Impress Vladimir Putin
Moving on from an everyday beater watch, we take a look at 4 picks for watches that even a massively wealthy oligarch would give a second look. Vlad’s a well-known watch collector, and we think he would happily add these to his shiny, fabulously ornate watch safe.
Ariel Adams: Jacob & Co. Astronomia (Hands-on here)
James Stacey: MB&F Legacy Machine Perpetual Calendar Watch (Hands-on here)
Patrick Kansa: Greubel Forsey GMT Watch In Platinum (Hands-on here)
David Bredan: Montblanc Collection Villeret Tourbillon Cylindrique Geosphères Vasco Da Gama Watch (Hands-on here)
Flamboyantly Designed “Grandly Complicated” Timepiece
There is no shortage of flashy watches and there’s no shortage of highly complicated watches out there. What if you want both, though? Well, we decided to think up 4 watches that we think will get you both attention and horological admiration.
The UN-118 was a significant milestone for Ulysse Nardin Midnight Express Watch Replica as it had been designed in house with a special material for the escapement – DIAMonSIL. A mix of silicon and man-made diamond, the use of DIAMonSIL eliminated the need for lubrication of the escapement. In theory, this ought to help keep rate keeping stable for a much longer duration. The logic is that over time, the viscosity of a traditional noodle raises and the amount of friction with it – with DIAMonSIL this is no longer a problem. The primary motivation behind the evolution of the UN-118 was to decrease reliance on ETA ébauches, but the technical chops that Ulysse Nardin made accessible at the price point were definitely a welcome bonus as well.In addition, the UN-118 comes with a silicon hairspring and provides 60 hours of power reserve. Given the ‘Chronometer’ from the title, the watch comes with COSC certification and the manufacturer’s own Ulysse Nardin Performance Certificate. We are told that the movement is decorated and visible through a sapphire crystal case back, but unfortunately, no pictures were supplied, so it’s difficult to comment on what finishing will seem like.As I said earlier, the Ulysse Nardin Marine Torpilleur is housed in a 42mm situation which is available in stainless steel or 18k rose gold and, unlike its bigger sibling, has more conventional lugs and no overhead guard. The lugs are short and curve downwards quite significantly, which should help the eye sit comfortably on most wrists. An interesting design feature of this Ulysse Nardin Marine Torpilleur is the bezel’s coin-like edge that is reminiscent of rotating bezels with textures for better grip. However this is a thin, fixed bezel, so the finish is just to add visual interest and is not functional. Given the capabilities of contemporary watchmaking methods, the marine association of this watch and the existence of a screw-down crown, the watch supplies a disappointing 50m of water resistance. This may seem like a small detail, but I feel as though they should have offered 100m.
Ariel Adams: HYT H3 (Hands-on here)
David Bredan: Richard Mille RM 26-02 Evil Eye (Hands-on here)
Bilal Khan: Antoine Preziuso “Tourbillon of Tourbillons” Triple Tourbillon (Hands-on here)
Mark Carson: Ulysse Nardin Freaklab (Hands-on here)